Does Living Abroad Affect Your Canadian Citizenship Status?
A simple answer is no.
The rules of Canadian citizenship have recently changed, causing a significant amount of confusion. Many people wonder if their citizenship is in danger of being revoked and if so, what the reason could be.
There are a couple situations in which citizenship can be rescinded. None of them are in any way related to time spent outside the country. While permanent residency can be affected by living abroad, this isn’t the case with citizenship.
Revocation of Citizenship
A naturalized Canadian citizen can have their citizenship revoked if they have been found guilty of fraud. The fraud had to have been committed as part of the application process for citizenship or for permanent residence.
If there is any question of suspicious activity, you may be asked to complete a residence questionnaire.
The questionnaire can be confusing and the obtaining the input of a citizenship revocation lawyer will make the process smoother.
Here are some of the issues that could cause you to receive a Residence Questionnaire:
- Not being able to prove your declared time spent in Canada prior to applying to become a permanent resident.
- Not being able to provide a clear explanation of where you lived for the past four years.
- Having a previous citizenship application that was:
- Denied due to the residency requirement.
- Abandoned or withdrawn by you.
- Having issues with your passport, such as:
- Stamps on your passport that denote trips outside of Canada but were not declared on your application.
- Stamps on your passport that indicate you left the country while your application was in process.
- Including a new passport in your application but not being able to produce the prior one.
- Having a new passport that was issued outside of Canada.
- Not bringing your passport with you when it was required for a citizenship test or documentation examination.
- Traveling outside of Canada. The IRCC (Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada) does set forth some specific guidelines pertaining to travel abroad when you’re in the citizenship application process. You may receive a Residence Questionnaire if:
- You have traveled outside of Canada for more than 365 days in the previous four years.
- The IRCC has reason to believe that you aren’t actually residing in Canada.
- You have tried to relinquish your permanent residence status while you were living in Canada.
- Issues with proof of employment. This can include:
- Not being able to contact your employer.
- You have extended periods of unemployment.
- Discrepancies with your citizenship application. Some situations will act as a red flag to the IRCC. They will be watching for:
Numerous applicants using the same contact information.
- The date on the application being inconsistent with the time you were actually in the country.
When the question is how living abroad can affect your citizenship status, the best answer is that it depends on where you are in the process of becoming a citizen. If weren’t born in Canada and you’re in the middle of the application procedure, you should not live outside of the country as this may negatively affect approval of the citizenship application.
Seek the advice of a qualified citizenship revocation lawyer to assist you if you have questions about the status of your citizenship at any time or for any reason.